7 ways to increase happiness at work

Written by
Dan Collinson

20 Mar 2017

20 Mar 2017 • by Dan Collinson

One of the key topics in positive psychology is the scientific study of happiness and the development of evidence-based tools to enable people to be happier. And so on the International Day of Happiness, here are some simple and effective tools, based on the field of positive psychology, which you can do to increase happiness at work:

1. Expressing gratitude and appreciation

Gratitude studies in the field of positive psychology are well known for their ability to increase happiness and yet at work, people often overlook the good work carried out by others or take colleagues for granted. Make time today to tell a colleague what you specifically appreciate or are grateful to them for. You might be surprised that by doing this makes both of you happier.

2. Practicing acts of kindness

Who hasn’t enjoyed being the recipient of surprise piece of kindness? Do something unprompted and kind for someone else at work today, like make the drinks for the team or buy them cakes. Having done so, take notice not only of their reaction, but also how it impacts positively on your happiness.

3. Optimistic thinking

Rather than rule out ideas or plans as impossible, instead add the word “yet”, e.g. we can’t find ways to increase sales…yet. This will help to free you from limitations and act as an optimistic motivator about what is possible. Realistic optimistic thinking can be a catalyst for creativity.

4. Forgiveness

Office politics can be part and parcel of a lot of workplaces and perceived injustices can fan the flames of resentment, which can have a negative impact on trust, productivity and morale. Try empathising with the person who has wronged you. Maybe they were under intense pressure to make cutbacks, perhaps they were just having a bad day and took it out on you or possibly they were fearful that you were performing better than they were. By putting yourself in a colleague’s shoes, it can help you to forgive them, which will allow you to be happier.

5. Avoiding social comparison

It can be difficult not to compare ourselves to others, e.g. she’s got a bigger salary than me, he always gets the promotion, they get better projects than us. These comparisons can have a negative impact on our happiness and wellbeing. If the thing that you comparing is something you wish for yourself, then make it a compelling goal for yourself to achieve. If the person you’re comparing yourself to can do it, what’s to stop you from doing it? Use this as a motivating factor to succeed.

6. Deepen relationships

There may be a relationship at work that you’re not happy with. Look at that relationship and make a commitment to invest your time to strengthen and nurture it, so that it is an effective and enjoyable relationship for you.


7. Play to your strengths

When we’re able to use our strengths more often, then we’re more productive, more engaged in tasks and we’re also happier. Think of some of the work tasks you are good at and enjoy doing and then see which ones you can do more often today, so as to improve your productivity as well as your happiness.

I hope that these tips can help you to increase your own happiness and help to cultivate a workplace that is happier and I wish you a wonderful International Day of Happiness.